The Confidence Game

The Confidence Game : Why We Fall for It... Every Time

3.66 (1,850 ratings by Goodreads)
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"It s a startling and disconcerting read that should make you think twice every time a friend of a friend offers you the opportunity of a lifetime.
Erik Larson, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Dead Wake and bestselling author of Devil in the White City

Think you can t get conned? Think again. TheNew York Timesbestselling author ofMastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes explains how to spot the con before they spot you.
[An] excellent study of Con Artists, stories & the human need to believe Neil Gaiman, via Twitter

A compelling investigation into the minds, motives, and methods of con artists and the people who fall for their cons over and over again.
While cheats and swindlers may be a dime a dozen, true conmen the Bernie Madoffs, the Jim Bakkers, the Lance Armstrongs are elegant, outsized personalities, artists of persuasion and exploiters of trust. How do they do it? Why are they successful? And what keeps us falling for it, over and over again? These are the questions that journalist and psychologist Maria Konnikova tackles in her mesmerizing new book.
From multimillion-dollar Ponzi schemes to small-time frauds, Konnikova pulls together a selection of fascinating stories to demonstrate what all cons share in common, drawing on scientific, dramatic, and psychological perspectives. Insightful and gripping, the book brings readers into the world of the con, examining the relationship between artist and victim.The Confidence Gameasks not only why we believe con artists, but also examines the very act of believing and how our sense of truth can be manipulated by those around us."
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Product details

  • Hardback | 340 pages
  • 157 x 231 x 33mm | 567g
  • English
  • 0525427414
  • 9780525427414
  • 1,021,946

Review quote

Advance Praise for "The Confidence Game"
In the Confidence Game, Konnikova plumbs the psychology and chemistry of why we all fall so readily for scams and cons and why, thanks to the Lake Wobegon Effect and other forces, having fallen once, we re even more susceptible the next time. It s a startling and disconcerting read that "should" make you think twice every time a friend of a friend offers you the opportunity of a lifetime. But you won t think twice. You ll still succumb, because that s how we re all wired. And here s the irony the smarter you think you are, the more readily you ll fall, which is why New Yorkers are some of the easiest marks. (Clients of Bernie Madoff, we re talking about you.) If you liked Malcolm Gladwell s "Blink," you ll love this lucid and revelatory look into our oh-so-susceptible selves.
Erik Larson, #1 "New York Times" bestselling author of "Dead Wake "and bestselling author of "Devil in the White City
" The story of the con artist may be unmatched for combining human interest with insight into human nature, and star psychology writer Maria Konnikova explains their wiles to us with her characteristic clarity, flair, and depth.
Steven Pinker, Johnstone Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, and author of"How the Mind Works"and"The Sense of Style."
In this remarkable book, Maria Konnikova shows that human beings are hardwired to believe often to our peril. And with a deft mix of stories and studies, she explores what that means for how we think and, ultimately, who we are. Deeply researched and elegantly written, "The Confidence Game" will widen your eyes and sharpen your mind.
Daniel H. Pink, author of "Drive" and "To Sell Is Human"
As an ambassador to AARP s Fraud Watch Network which educates its members on protecting themselves from confidence games and scams, I found "The Confidence Game" an excellent resource. The best way to protect oneself from the confidence man is to understand the mind and motivation of the con man.
Frank W. Abagnale, subject of the movie, book, and Broadway musical "Catch Me If You Can"
I really love Maria Konnikova s writing. In a world of pseudoscience of extreme polemical thought her calm rationality is comforting and smart. I appreciate and believe her.
Jon Ronson, author of "So You've Been Publicly Shamed"
Maria Konnikova has written a compelling, engrossing account of the world of the con. I stayed up far too late reading it. Beautifully written, and filled with stories and thought-provoking psychological research, The Confidence Game will teach you how confidence artists operate and how to outwit them.
Charles Duhigg, Pulitzer Prize winning reporter and author of "The Power of Habit"
What magic takes place when a smooth-talking stranger convinces you to part with everything you have? Maria Konnikova is a superb storyteller and her tales of conmen and their victims will blow your mind.This is a brilliant and often unsettling book, and it leaves me with mixed feelings I d like everyone to read it, but at the same time, it scares me to think of it falling into the wrong hands.
Paul Bloom, Brooks and Suzanne RagenProfessor of Psychology, YaleUniversity, and author of"Just Babies."
An enthralling read about why we re all vulnerable to deception, by one of the truly gifted social science writers of our time. This book shook my confidence in my ability to detect fraud and then showed me how to improve my skills.
Adam Grant, Wharton professor and"New York Times"bestselling author of "Give and Take"and "Originals
" Short of making cynicism your overriding philosophy, the surest safety might be to understand the workings of the con man as he understands you. Understand his psychology, his motivation, his tricks, and his games. Konnikova s book promises to make life just a little bit harder for con artists everywhere. "
The New Republic
" Brilliant and enthralling. By plumbing the depths of real stories of swindlers and their victims, and by drawing on new research into the nature of deception, she does more than just show in riveting detail how these cons unfold; she also reveals their hidden psychological dimensions, and why we all may be perfect mark. "
" David Grann, author of"" "The Lost City of Z"
"In The Confidence Game, Maria Konnikova has created an enthralling read about con men. But it's about so much more: trust, belief, and deception at their most basic and human levels. If you think you're above becoming an unwitting player in the confidence game, you'll think again by the end."
David Epstein, author of "The Sports Gene"
The most thoughtful and thought-provoking book ever written on cons, and I ve not only read most of them but I ve also been conned. Marvelous and important.
Michael Shermer, publisher of "Skeptic" magazine, author of "Why People Believe Weird Things" and "The Believing Brain
" Blending news accounts with first-person published narratives, public records, and original interviews, Konnikova dissects the techniques of some of the world s most successful con artists. A page-turner, this book provides plenty of insight about them and about us, their targets. ""
Psychology Today"
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About Maria Konnikova

Maria Konnikova is the author of Mastermind and The Confidence Game. She is a regular contributing writer for The New Yorker, and has written for the Atlantic, the New York Times, Slate, the New Republic, the Paris Review, the Wall Street Journal, Salon, the Boston Globe, the Scientific American MIND, WIRED, and Smithsonian. Maria graduated from Harvard University and received her Ph.D. in Psychology from Columbia University."
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Rating details

1,850 ratings
3.66 out of 5 stars
5 20% (374)
4 37% (681)
3 33% (613)
2 9% (161)
1 1% (21)
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